As technology grows and becomes more and more prevalent, so does the ability to commit fraudulent crimes or white-collar crimes. White-collar crimes of all types have become easier and less traceable. Additionally, the growth of technology has generated new varieties of white-collar crimes that involve cell phones, computers and the internet.
Today’s white-collar crimes
White-collar crimes such as Ponzi schemes, embezzlement and counterfeiting are still committed but new kinds of crimes have been added to the white-collar crime category. The ability to perpetrate scams, commit software extortion and steal someone’s identity all fall under this category. What all of these crimes have in common is the ability to fraudulently obtain money in a non-violent manner.
Scam perpetration takes advantage of the technological growth of cell phones, email and the internet. Calls and emails purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration are rampant, and so are fake sweepstakes promising large amounts of money. The internet is rife with websites that trick people into investing money or purchasing fraudulent products.
Software extortion can be executed against individual computer users as well as corporations. Software extortion happens when digital extortionists insert a malicious Ransomware virus onto a computer or network. The virus encrypts and holds hostage the files on that computer or network until the demanded ransom has been paid.
Identity theft refers to obtaining identity information from another person and using it for personal gains. Under Missouri identity theft law, any person who commits identity theft and intends to defraud another will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. The charge depends on the amount of money that was gained using the identity. If the amount of money gained was $750 or less, the crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a $1000 fine and a maximum time of one year in jail. Take note that it is a Class B crime to even obtain the identity information, regardless if it was never used.
If the monetary gain from identity theft is more than $750, the charge is a Class D felony. Over $25,000 of gain can result in a Class C felony charge and if the victim was defrauded of more than $75,000, the crime constitutes a Class B felony. Both Class C and D charges are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, and restitution must be paid to the victim or victims. Committing a Class B felony can result in up to 15 years in prison.
If you believe you have been affected by white-collar crime, seek legal representation.